Searching Databases

Class: Evidence based practice

Discussion: Searching Databases

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When you decide to purchase a new car, you first decide what is important to you. If mileage and dependability are the important factors, you will search for data focused more on these factors and less on color options and sound systems.

The same holds true when searching for research evidence to guide your clinical inquiry and professional decisions. Developing a formula for an answerable, researchable question that addresses your need will make the search process much more effective. One such formula is the PICO(T) format.

In this Discussion, you will transform a clinical inquiry into a searchable question in PICO(T) format, so you can search the electronic databases more effectively and efficiently. You will share this PICO(T) question and examine strategies you might use to increase the rigor and effectiveness of a database search on your PICO(T) question.

To Prepare:

1, Review the Resources and identify a clinical issue of interest that can form the basis of a clinical inquiry.

  1. Review the materials offering guidance on using databases, performing keyword searches, and developing PICO(T) questions provided in the Resources.
  2. Based on the clinical issue of interest and using keywords related to the clinical issue of interest, search at least two different databases in the Walden Library to identify at least four relevant peer-reviewed articles related to your clinical issue of interest. You should not be using systematic reviews for this assignment, select original research articles.
  3. Review the Resources for guidance and develop a PICO(T) question of interest to you for further study. It is suggested that an Intervention-type PICOT question be developed as these seem to work best for this course.

For the discussion: Post a brief description of your clinical issue of interest. This clinical issue will remain the same for the entire course and will be the basis for the development of your PICOT question. Describe your search results in terms of the number of articles returned on original research and how this changed as you added search terms using your Boolean operators. Finally, explain strategies you might make to increase the rigor and effectiveness of a database search on your PICO(T) question. Be specific and provide examples.


Resources-2 websites below and a video






The clinical issue of interest I had chosen was if the continuous use of restraints to protect others from harm was ethical. “The use of mechanical restraint and other coercive measures has existed in the discipline of psychiatry since its very origin” (Navarro et al., 2021). I chose to further explore the impacts of using restraints and the least invasive techniques that were pursued before such use. The number of articles returned using the original search title of “use of restraints” on APA Psych info research database under the Walden Library returned over one thousand results. Once I used my Boolean operators for “And” and added the word “impact” in the search bar, it yielded over one hundred results. “Boolean search operators- AND, OR, NOT, SAME- help you manage your strategy and are particularly useful in the later stages in order to refine your search” (Shaw, 2010). This technique helped to further narrow down the number of search results which I find useful due to key words remaining in place and ensuring that the articles are in relation to my clinical issue.

To increase the rigor and effectiveness of the database search, I will incorporate the use of more databases and not just one specific one that yields the most results before Boolean operators. For example, I will compare the results from one database and the other, but I will still use research articles from both. I can also search a partial of the main keyword and use an asterisk. For example, in the search engine, instead of using “restraint use on children”, I can instead type “restraint use on child*) and incorporate an asterisk. Using this strategy will allow me to further analyze any articles that may have been looked over that didn’t contain the full word, this will help increase my search results and I will have greater articles to work with that may expand results based on my topic. Another example would be to add a time frame for my articles, this will keep my results relevant to today and will aid in me not using old data to compare to today’s use of restraints. Review of different search strategies is key to consider, due to conclusions being derived from the specific review articles selected (Harari et a., 2020).




Harari, M. B., Parola, H. R., Hartwell, C. J., & Riegelman, A. (2020). Literature searches in systematic reviews and meta-analyses: A review, evaluation, and recommendations. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 118, 103377.


Navarro, L. N., Osorio, V. L. D. L., Ortiz, M. F. B., & Liria, A. F. (2021). Mental health and human rights: The experience of professionals in training with the use of mechanical restraints in Madrid, Spain. Salud Colectiva, 17, e3045.


Shaw, R. L. (2010). Conducting literature reviews.